It borders on addiction. People circumvent the ban on artificial intelligence at work


It was because of the collection of data from users that OpenAI faced a lot of criticism. Italy, for example, cited this as the main reason – along with insufficient checks on the age of users – to block the service in the country, which occurred at the beginning of April this year. It was only in May that the chat robot was put into operation again in this southern European country.

This happened after ChatGPT got an anonymous mode, which no longer stores user queries at all.

However, Samsung, JP Morgan, Apple and Amazon also banned their employees from using ChatGPT and other similar systems due to concerns about data leakage.

Expert: AI has many uses, but you also need to remember the risks

But many employees adore this technology so much that they have developed an outright addiction to it, as the BBC pointed out. “They are practical tools that make life easier. Take this kind of content aggregation – instead of wading through multiple sources and finding only confusing organizational policies, ChatGPT can provide you with a useful first draft in no time,” said Bryan Hancock of McKinsey & Co. based in Washington.

“They can also help you with technical tasks like coding and perform routine tasks that will ease the cognitive load of employees and their schedules,” added Hancock.

He changed jobs overnight

Business consultant Matt from Berlin and his colleague were among the first to discover ChatGPT in the workplace, just a few weeks after its release. According to him, this chatbot changed their jobs overnight. “It was like discovering a cheat in a video game,” Matt told the BBC.

“I asked a really technical question from my PhD, and the program gave me an answer that no one would have come up with without consulting people who have very specific expertise. I knew right away that this would completely change the rules of the game,” he added.

We had a significant competitive advantage against our colleagues – we submitted work much faster and they did not understand how this was possible.

Business consultant Matt from Berlin

Everyday tasks in his fast-paced work environment—such as researching scientific topics, gathering resources, or creating thorough presentations for clients—suddenly became a breeze. There was one catch: Matt and his colleague had to keep their use of ChatGPT pretty under wraps. They opened the tool secretly, especially on days when they worked from home.

“We had a significant competitive advantage against our colleagues – we submitted work much faster, and they did not understand how this was possible. Our manager was very impressed and spoke to senior management about our performance,” said Matt.

Whether the technology is outright banned in companies, tolerated through gritted teeth, or continues to provide a hidden advantage to some workers, one way or another, employees are finding ways to discreetly use generative AI tools.

Behind-the-scenes work aid

AI technology is increasingly becoming a behind-the-scenes work tool: in a February survey by professional social network Fishbowl, 68 percent of more than 5,000 respondents who use AI at work said they simply don’t tell their bosses about it.

But even when companies do not ban artificial intelligence in the workplace, employees may prefer to hide its use from colleagues. “We don’t have established standards around AI yet – but at first glance it might seem like you’re actually admitting you’re not that good at your job when a machine does a lot of your work for you,” said Simon Johnson, head of global economics and management at the MIT Sloan School of Management in Massachusetts, USA. And he added: “It’s only natural that people want to hide it.”

As a result, Internet forums have sprung up where people share strategies for staying low-key. Communities like Reddit are looking for tips on how to sneak around AI bans in the workplace. Whether using high-tech solutions – for example, integrating the ChatGPT tool into a native application disguised as a work tool, or completely primitive ones – adding a privacy window or discreet access to AI tools through a personal phone placed on the work table.

And more and more workers who have become accustomed to using artificial intelligence may indeed have to start looking for ways to avoid unwanted attention. In an August BlackBerry survey of 2,000 IT executives, three-quarters of them said they were currently considering or already in place bans on ChatGPT and other generative AI applications in the workplace, with 61 percent saying the measures should be long-term or permanent.

A phenomenon called ChatGPT

Artificial intelligence has taken center stage with the development of ChatGPT. This chat system can generate a variety of texts including articles, essays, jokes and poetry based on simple queries. ChatGPT learns to respond to user input and, like humans, learns from large amounts of data.

In March this year, a more advanced GPT-4 artificial intelligence model was introduced. It should be able to provide safer and more useful answers and pave the way for the spread of human-like technologies.

The web application is offered by OpenAI for free, but this only applies to the older version of the chatbot GPT-3.5. GPT-4’s more advanced artificial intelligence, which is capable of more accurate and useful answers, can only be used by subscription owners. This will cost potential interested parties $20 per month, i.e. approximately CZK 440 in conversion.

ChatGPT is behind OpenAI, a start-up funded by Microsoft.

Bans can backfire on companies

While these bans can help companies keep sensitive information out of the hands of the wrong hands, according to Hancock, bans on generative artificial intelligence can backfire mainly in the long run. “AI tools are meant to become part of employees’ practices, so limiting access to them without a clear vision of when and how they will be adopted – for example after safeguards are in place – can lead to frustration,” says Hancock. “And the frustration can make people start thinking about going to work somewhere where they have access to the tools they need to do their jobs,” he adds.

As for Matt, he found a way to stay ahead of the curve. Together with a colleague, he started secretly using the search platform Perplexity. This, like ChatGPT, is a generative AI tool that immediately returns complex written responses to basic instructions. Matt prefers Perplexity even more than ChatGPT: it contains up-to-date information and cites sources that can be quickly cross-checked, which is ideal when his presentations require thorough and up-to-date knowledge. On his work laptop, on which he often works remotely, he turns to it for hundreds of questions a day and uses it more often than Google.

Matt hopes to keep his new favorite AI tool under wraps for as long as possible. It’s worth the minor inconvenience of occasionally having to dim the laptop screen in the office – but not having to share his resources with the wider team. “I’d rather keep my competitive edge,” he concluded.


Do you use artificial intelligence systems at work?

Yes, we are not prohibited.

Yes, although it is not allowed.

A total of 32 readers voted.

Thorough tests before market launch. Countries agree on new rules for AI

The article is in Czech

Tags: borders addiction People circumvent ban artificial intelligence work


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